Let's give it up for cycling!

Could you go car free forever? Or even just for Lent?
Julie Rand's picture

Let's give it up for cycling!

When we asked CycleClips readers if they had given up their cars for Lent, like CTC member the Bishop of Ramsbury, we weren't sure what to expect. However, many of you wrote in to share your experiences. Here's a selection...
  • "When I went on the pre-Copenhagen climate march, in I think 2010, one of the other marchers told me that she and her family had, for Lent, given up driving between Nailsea and Backwell, south of Bristol. The experience turned out to be so positive, that cycling became their routine way of travel between the two locations. I think there is a Sustrans route between the Nailsea and Backwell." R. Hancock


  • "I was encouraged by this article, though it doesn't really say what the Bishop's motivation actually was for doing so. The Christian church's attitude to environmental matters seems less than fully committed in too many cases, perhaps because their senior staff have to travel so much (by car) round the diocese, and because they don't want to discourage attendance at Sunday worship.

A remarkable case was an article in the main Perthshire paper recently, where (Free) Church ministers were seeking a meeting with the Transport Minister re the dualling of the A9 from Perth to Inverness, a vastly expensive road-building project (£3bn) which is not justified on economic grounds, nor on transport grounds, (since the parallel railway is mainly only single-track, with a poor service of 3-4 trains per day); and the result will just be more road journeys, hence no justification on environmental grounds, indeed quite the opposite.

I naively expected the church clerics to be against the road, but not a bit of it, they wanted the project done sooner! (They have to travel the road themselves; and are fed up with conducting funerals of those killed).  I gave up my last car in 1984 at the age of 44.  I told the family I'd get a new one when the manufacturers produce a standard model capable of 100 mpg. I expected this might be 4 or 5 years, but I'm still waiting! And in the meantime I've learnt to live without a car, so I won't be buying one at all! Cycle and public transport is adequate for me.

So I live in a permanent, year-round 'Lent', and far from feeling deprived, it's the only way of life I can live with a relatively clear conscience. Cars have enormous social costs, the climate not the least of them.  As for the climate, recent events in England say it all (well not all, but they are a pointer). It's high time we made car users pay ALL the social costs of car use, instead of subsidising it as we do now. That way, there'd be a lot less traffic on the roads, and probably far more cyclists."    

P. Hawkins, Edinburgh


  • "If I forsook my car for Lent and used only my bike, I am afraid that it would be nothing but self-indulgence and not at all in the right spirit!"  

J. Stewart


  • "In 1985 I gave up running a car, relying instead on bicycles, or buses and trains. Apart from feeling more alive (once overcoming an initial lack of fitness), the financial difference enabled me to break through a period of unemployment and subsequent lower earnings. It also relieved a lot of stress, from silly things like watching the parking metre time, or MOT due, etc! Finding a parking spot has never been easier!"

M. Jacobson


  • "Whilst I cannot match the Bishop’s zeal, as a retired geriatric I bought my first new bike for my 60th birthday present and then did a stock take. I had my car, a big motorbike and a pedal cycle and my wife has her own car. It was not possible to use all 4 so I sold my car and then found that I was only doing a few hundred miles on the motor bike, so I sold that. This leaves me with just a pedal cycle which is my main mode of transport and now (71 years and 3 bikes later) I do about 2000 miles per year including one or two cycle sportives. The big problem is that having sold my car there was space in the garage and this now fills with junk."


  • "Yes, I have given up car travel for Lent. I am finding that Exeter is a good city to cycle in, bike lanes and special cyclists traffic lights make me feel valued as a cyclist. For rehearsals this weekend I got right across the city in a very short time." 



  • We have recently moved in order to do more cycling and less driving, it lifts the spirits and restores the soul and I shall be doing this not only for Lent, spread the word." 



  • "As a Deacon of the Catholic Church, I cycle to work aprox 25 mile round trip as often as I can at 70 years of age, so more power to the Bishop's elbow. God Bless and thanks for this news letter." 

Deacon Vincent


Thanks to all who responded.


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